Vote and join the conversation: Time is money in the legal sector, is AI changing that?

  • 22 April 2024
  • 5 replies
Vote and join the conversation: Time is money in the legal sector, is AI changing that?
Userlevel 6
  • Community Manager
  • 181 replies

AI can already automate many of the more repetitive tasks and admin related to a legal matter. What happens if the administrative side of our work disappears completely? Personally, I think that leaves us with more time to do the most valuable thing that we do, supporting our clients through what are often major, life-changing moments. I wonder if the true value of that support has ever been measurable in billable hours? 

For many of us, AI automations mean billing based on time makes less sense for our firm. There are decisions to make about how we charge for our services and communicate our value to stay competitive.

Billing for a decade of expertise vs a few minutes of effort

Currently, many of us bill for the few minutes it takes to compose an email. We often overlook the value of the decade of expertise and experience ensuring that brief email achieves results. 

AI revolution or not; your true value has always extended far beyond the time required to complete a task. The big changes feel scary, but I also am noticing firms start to see it as an opportunity to rethink their approach.

I would like to know if you are thinking about how you communicate your value to clients and adjusting pricing strategies accordingly.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on pricing and adapting to the changes that the AI revolution will bring.

Here’s some questions to get you started:

  • How are you adapting to the AI revolution? 
  • Are there resources, conversations or other types of support that we could hold space for in this community to help you?

Will you change the way you charge for your work in response to AI?

5 replies

Userlevel 6
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This was discussed briefly during an SB AI round table with @Jordan Turk and Matt Mishak earlier this year. Great topic. This year our firm has started using:

-Flat rate for AI legal research memos and opponent citation review (Westlaw).

-Flat rate for AI Document review and initial drafting contracts and deposition questions or interrogatories.
-Minimum value billing for drafting court pleadings using SB document Automation.  


Userlevel 6

For anyone interested in the AI Round Table that @JKibler mentioned, you can watch it on-demand here:


Userlevel 6

Thanks for sharing @kuhrich

@JKibler this is really interesting! I think you’re probably ahead of the curve here, but then you often are!

I'm curious about how many clients choose automation vs additional attorney guidance. I can see a few possibilities, I might be way off though: 

  • Potentially there’s two distinct customer segments: "Automaters" and "Advice Takers". Offering AI powered options expands your client base.
  • Some clients may have shifted from personalized guidance to automated services, impacting billable hours but reducing effort.
  • Clients may start as "Automaters" but transition to purchasing attorney advice as their legal matters become more complex and strategic. 

Hopefully I make sense 😅

I’m wondering if you’re seeing some or all of the scenarios play out or something different?

For the “Automaters” do you have any tactics in play to encourage people to upgrade as their matters become complex and as they build trust in the value of your firm’s work?  

Edit: While I think this could help a lot of firms out there there’s no pressure to respond. Please only share what you’re comfortable sharing :) 

Userlevel 4

I charge for the time I spend on a case. If automation allows me to do more in less time - that benefits my clients (and frees me up to spend my time on some other task). I have used AI for brainstorming, organizing data, and re-formatting data. On rare occasions I’ve used AI to analyze data. 

Userlevel 6

Thanks for sharing @Funkytown. Sounds like a sensible approach! 

Do you think there will be a “race to the bottom” if more and more of the work get’s automated?